The Hero’s Journey

the hero’s journey  , Dance of Language textbook Because the hero’s journey is the story of all mankind, from the physical adventures that change our lives to the journey inward toward the hidden recesses of our fears and anxieties, our darkest shadows, this archetypal motif is often the foundation of many of the stories we read every day. Joseph Campbell was among the first cultural anthropologists and mythologists who identified the stages of the hero’s journey. Having been called to an adventure the hero crosses the threshold into the dark kingdom of tests and trials. After being subjected to the supreme ordeal—symbolic death and rebirth, often in a cave like structure—the hero flees and crosses the threshold to return home with the treasure, the elixir that will improve the lives of others. The hero is no longer the same person, having undergone a symbolic path to rebirth.

the hero’s journey The application of this motif to literature and life in the classroom offers an opportunity for interesting and thought provoking discussion and writing. Students get a glimpse into the lives of the characters with the depth provided by the symbolism: the sacred marriage, father atonement, the life-death-rebirth archetype, the inmost cave or belly of the whale. This imagery teaches students to use skills of application, synthesis, and evaluation, all of which encourage higher level thinking.